Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Bethlehemian Rhapsody

Very, very well done.

In Memoriam, or In Celebritas?

I guess it depends on the color of your blaster bolts.

The Hubris of Politicians

Well, well, well. I saw part of a blurb on the news crawler this morning about Gingrich petitioning lawmakers in Virginia to change the law. Curious, I went hunting for information.

Gingrich failed to qualify for the primary ballot in his home state of Virginia

His campaign manager lamented that "only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot". The campaign doubled-down on the stupid by saying that "[...] the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected setback, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action."

Pearl Harbor? Really? That's what you want to compare the mismanagement of your campaign to? How many soldiers, sailors and airmen lost their lives in that event? Now, how many lost their lives because you've known for MONTHS about a Dec 21 filing deadline and couldn't meet it.

The rule of law is the rule of law, Petitioning lawmakers to change the law because you messed up, and to give yourself a mulligan is the worst sort of political hubris. It merely reinforces the notion that politicians think they are better than themselves and that the laws of the land only apply to the little people.

Please go away now.

So, explain something to me

I don't get the hypocrisy amongst the "new media" conservative commentariat.

Their thinking goes something like "Greed is good, capitalism is the best solution, the government should get out of the way and let businesses do their thing, and a properly free market will self-adjust". I understand this theory in general, and tend to agree with it.

But here's the part that puzzles me. Why, when it can be used to score cheap political points, does this self-same group of individuals turn around and decry the fact that a liberal politician went on holiday, or stayed at a $10k/night hotel, or did some other extravagant thing.

To cop a phrase, let me be clear. The only time I would care about where a politician stayed or how much they spent on something is if they did it on the public dime. Have the cash and want to buy a Lamborghini with your own funds? That's great, and good luck trying to drive it in the craziness that is D.C. traffic. Want to go on a "fact finding" junket on the public dime, and take your family with you? Then I start having problems.

I am sick and tired of the totality of the Us v. Them mentality that has set in. Compromise is not a dirty word, and can be done with compromising your principles. Especially in the Senate, the legislators need to remember they are their to govern the country. Obviously, in the House they have more local concerns, and should properly look out for their electorate first, but after that again, work to the good of the country.

These are not hard concepts, and all of these lines in the sand and bright-line tests merely confuse the issue.

There is only one bright-line test I care about: Is it Constitutional?1

1And now let the arguments regarding the definition of "Constitutional" commence

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Putting it all in perspective

As I look around at the chaos and carnage of another "successful" Christmas, and watch the kiddos enjoying all of their gifts, I see something like this and it really puts it all into perspective.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I am insane

I went to the mall today.


But she's worth it.

I just hope she likes it

May the Froth Be With You

(h/t to Laugh It Out on Facebook)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa went down to Georgia

(amongst other places)

How to cut down a Christmas tree

Always remember to use the proper attachments for your tools:

Yes, Jay G, I'm looking at you right now.

It's full of lights!

I don't think the wife would let me put it on the roof
(h/t to Vulpine)
And yes, I know I'm mixing my sci-fi memes again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fortuitous Schedule Mishaps

Yes, I used "fortuitous" and "mishap" in the same sentence.

The original holiday schedule for my company had us observing New Year's day on Friday, 12/30/2011, even though it's on a Sunday. Traditionally, we observe holidays that fall on a weekend on the weekday closest to the event (Friday for Saturday events, Monday for Sunday events). For whatever reason, they didn't do it that way this year.

Well, it seems that all of the other tenants in our office building used the more traditional method, and our building did the same. So our office building is closed on Monday, 01/02/2012.

Yep. That's right.

We get an extra paid holiday day this year due to HR's scheduling mishap.

I don't think anyone's crying about it.

Funny Picture of the Day

The only that that makes it "not funny" is I have two friends that work for Nokia and are losing their jobs soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Updates, get your updates!!

Well, look here.

Barnes & Noble has released update 1.4.1 for the Nook Color.

The biggest feature in this update is that they added the Netflix streaming client. Since they had it on the Nook Tablet, I was hoping they would put it over on the Color as well, and it seems they have.

It also looks like they finally added landscape mode support for reading, which given the free-flow nature of ePub, I always wondered why they didn't have.

Now, the one thing that I hope is in here, but I don't see mentioned specifically, is a fix for the suspend mode issue. Basically, periodically it will refuse to go to sleep, and the battery runs down inside 8 hours. The only way to fix this is to do a hard reset to restore to factory defaults. That didn't start happening until I installed 1.3.1 (as best I can tell) so I'm hoping it's just a software glitch that they have finally corrected.

Oh, and there are a few other eye candy updates as well that seem interesting.

So, you can either wait until the rolling update hits your Color automatically, or you can follow that link above and manually update by side-loading the update file.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So that's how he does it

Have we finally figured out how Robb Allen funds his USPSA matches?


Friday, December 9, 2011

Soldiers' Angels Fundraiser

Yet another thing about which I've been remiss.

Linoge over at Walls of the City is running a fundraiser for Soldiers' Angels.

He has lined up quite the nice little list of prizes and is in the interesting position of having more prizes than he does entrants. So, if you want to support a great cause, go hit the fundraiser page, read the rules, and then go buy something from the Soldiers' Angels store.

What, you're still here? Okay then, let me give you a taste of some the prizes:

A Wyvern .380 pocket holster from Dragon Leatherworks
A not-even-released for general sale Glock Gen4 Lasergrip from Crimson Trace
Flipside wallets
Gunwalker t-shirts

Seriously, go donate to a great cause, and get entered for some great prizes.

Correcting an oversight - Blogroll Update

Not sure why I haven't added him to my blogroll yet, seeing as how he's in my RSS feed and all, but WizardPC has himself his own shiny blog over at Guns, Cars, and Tech.

If you haven't checked him out yet, I highly recommend that you do so.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another day, another security fail

This time, it's at another Dutch digital certificate issuer, Gement.

According to the story, the hacker gained access to one of the web servers through the PHPMyAdmin module. It does not appear that any certificates were compromised, but it's this type of breach that is completely preventable.

When will companies learn that they have to be proactive about security. Put password policies in place, and enforce them, preferably systematically when possible. AUDIT to make sure they are being followed. Make sure you have someone that follows the bug and defect lists for your major components. Patches and fixes are constantly being released. There is absolutely no reason to be running HTTP, FTP, or SSL services with known vulnerabilities. That's just lazy and inexcusable.

Personally, if a company is running software or a configuration with widely known vulnerabilities, and have not made good faith efforts to mitigate (either by changing the config or patching the software) the problem, and customer information is compromised, they should absolutely be liable at law for the breach.

For the individual, don't just rely on the little lock symbol, or color-coding, or whatever other visual indicators your browser is giving you. You are also responsible for protecting yourself. Make sure that the URL is one you recognize, and where you mean to be. Make sure you have anti-virus software at a bare minimum. You should also strongly consider malware and adware software, and even a phishing filter. Most of these products are available as packages or suites, and there are some excellent free alternatives out there.

Oh, and you're regularly changing your passwords, right?

Oh, and you're not using the same password on multiple different systems, right?

Yeah, I know keeping up with all of your passwords is a pain, but there are password vaults and crypts available to help you manage that.

Trust me, keeping up with 50 passwords is less of a pain than dealing with 50 different compromised accounts all because you shared passwords amongst them.

So that's what a Tamalanch looks like

Yesterday, I discovered what blog traffic looks like.

Today, I discovered what a Tamalanch looks like.

Are my blog stats flipping me the bird????
Um, wow.

Because keeping guns off campuses makes them safer

Or something.

Man robs (school) bookstore with knife

Remember, Gun Violence Prevention organizations would rather we cower like scared mice, and call the police1, instead of taking responsibility for our own safety.

1Unless, of course, the police are actually doing their job and busting up protests using methods not approved of by our betters. Then the police are evil nasty people that should be ridiculed, lambasted and jailed.2

2Yeah, my brain hurts too.

Gotta-have-it-itis: Star Wars edition

Thanks Jay G. Now I want one too.

Jay "helpfully" points us to the latest offering in motorcycle wear from UD Replicas.

In space, no one can hear you scream.1

I don't even ride, and I want one of those. It would make a killer Halloween costume. The only drawback is it doesn't look like a helmet is included, so you'd have to find a replica helmet to go with it as well. Oh, and since the utility belt is molded to the jacket, I wonder if it's functional. . . .

But those are just minor little details.

1And yes, I know I'm mixing my sci-fi opuses and quotes

Greetings, visitors

Welcome to everyone coming over from Tam's place. Take a look around, grab a seat, put your feet up, stay awhile.

The fridge is in the kitchen, and there's one in the garage too. Help yourself to whatever you'd like, just please use the recycle bin as appropriate.

In all seriousness, I hope you like what you find, and will continue to visit and read my meager scribblings.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waking my inner child

I just looked out the window here at the office and saw snow flakes coming down. It's actually coming down at a decent clip, but I doubt there will be any accumulation (thankfully).

What is about snow, though? For some reason, my inner child always seems to wake up and demand attention when it's snowing, especially the first good snowfall of the year. Even being in my mid-30s*, I still have this almost irresistible urge to run downstairs and catch snowflakes on my tongue, and to just frolick in the wintery wonder of fluffy water.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's 15 minutes until my next meeting, which is plenty of time to run downstairs real quick!!

Cello Wars

You've probably already seen this, but just in case you haven't:

So that's what traffic looks like.

So this is what happens when you get linked to by both Borepatch and Jay G.

And yes, unfortunately, that is a HUGE day in visits for me.

Maybe I should write more, or better, or something.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This is how it should happen

A cop gets busted running plates without a valid police need, apparently as part of a sting.

He lies about it, and gets caught in the lie.

He has now lost his law enforcement license and can never work as a cop again (at least in Ohio).

The only thing better would have been if they actually pursued the felony charges instead of allowing him to plea down to the misdemeanor.

UPDATE: Greetings, visitors!

Firearms Bleg - Full-sized 9mm pistols

So, I have that happiest of conundrums. The wife knows I want a new pistol, and she only has one request. She wants it to be one that she can shoot too, so we can go to the range together.

This is my happy face.

She's not comfortable with the thought of shooting my S&W Model 28 hand cannon (yet), which I can certainly understand. It can seem a bit intimidating at first blush.

Say hello to my N-framed friend
I don't want to just get a .22LR pistol. I will at some point, but for now I want to get something that she's comfortable with, that she can operate and fire accurately, and that would be a serviceable self-defense weapon. Naturally, my thoughts turn to the first caliber of pistol other than .22LR that I learned to shoot, the venerable 9mm.

I have put together a short-list that I'm researching, and would love your feedback. These are all 9mm pistols, all full-framed instead of compact or sub-compact, currently in manufacture and frequently available used. I'm not hung up on metal versus polymer frame, striker-fired versus hammer-fired, or action type (SA/DA/SAO/DAO). I'm looking to spend under $600, preferably in $450 neighborhood if I can.

With all that being said, here's the list I've put together (EDITED to add the P226):

This will be used by myself as a range gun and occasional carry, and by the missus as a range gun and home defense. Any thoughts, insights, critiques or additions to the list would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yeah, I'm a geek

Today's Kids.Woot deal was just too cool for school:

May the Lunch be with you
Yes, those are sandwich cutters int he shape of a TIE Fighter and the Millenium Falcon.

Yeah, I ordered two of them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Not sure I thought this all the way through

Um, what in the world was I thinking when I decided to quit drinking the weekend of the college football championship games?

I must say, old habits die hard. Very, very hard indeed.

Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

The craziness that is the school policy of Zero Tolerance has once again reared it's head.

In Boston, a young boy was being assaulted by someone who wanted his gloves. So, what did this victim do? He kicked the other kid to make him stop. Self-defense, end of story, right?

“‘Your son kicked a little boy in the testicles. We call that sexual harassment,’” Lynch said the school told her.
Excuse me? A bully attacks a kid. Said kid defends himself, lashing out at one of the most sensitive and tender areas available to him. The attack is stopped. And now the victim is being investigated for "sexual harrasment."

You have got to be kidding me.

This is the same mindset that says a woman shouldn't carry a gun, that she should hope the police arrive in time to protect her from the rapist. This is the same mindset that says "Just give them what they want and they won't hurt you."

Where is the investigation of the bully, that physically laid hands on another kid and choked him? That tried to take from someone else what he wanted by force? There's your harassment right there. Oh wait. That's not just harassment, that's assault and battery.

There are days that I think the home-schoolers have the right idea.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Here, hold my beer. . . .

. . .I'm done with it for now.

I have slowly come to the realization that, for now at least, beer and alcohol are not my friends. Part of my weight issues are related to those empty calories. I've also probably been overindulging of late.

So, it's time to try an experiment. I'm going to put the beer down (mostly) for the rest of the year. I might allow myself one if we go out to eat, but no more than one.

I want to see what happens. I'm pretty sure my weight will continue to move in the proper direction. I think my energy levels will return to where they were months ago (I've been exceptionally tired of late, but have had trouble sleeping). I'm hoping my overall mood and attitude improve as well.

I'd say let's drink to it, but, um, yeah.

And this little pig went Wii Wii Wii all the way home

It's a gaming console, with a fairly simplistic interface. The characters are all cartoonish. It's obviously targeted at kids by and large.

Given all of that, why in the world am I so sore today?!?!?

As part of my on again/off again attempts to drop weight and get healthy, I've started working out on our Wii again. Several years ago, we got the Wii Fit game along with the balance board. For the last two days, I've spent at least 30 minutes each evening doing step aerobics, shadow boxing, hula hoop, and other activities.

This morning? My biceps are sore, my deltoids and shoulders are sore, and my hips are sore.

Everything I did was non-contact. I didn't even do any of the so-called strength exercises. All I did was aerobics and balance games. I guess I'm being a little too exuberant with the shadow boxing or something.

But, ya know what? I'll take a little soreness in my muscles. According to the scale, I've already dropped 4 pounds in two days. I'm sure a lot of that is just fluctuation in water retention, but the scale is moving in the right direction again.

Now all I have to do is keep up my motivation, and keep working out even when I don't feel like it.